Surgical Error Attorneys in Roanoke
When you go in for a surgery, the hospital or surgical center likely will make you sign various consent forms. If you read these forms carefully, you will notice that you are accepting many potential risks of surgery. However, there is a major difference between accepting certain known and disclosed risks and being exposed to unnecessary harm due to a surgical error.
If you believe that you or a loved one suffered harm due to a surgical error, the attorneys of Lichtenstein Law Group PLC will protect your rights. Our founding attorney, John E. Lichtenstein, has more than 28 years of experience with handling complex medical malpractice cases. He has hand-picked a team of highly skilled and dedicated lawyers and staff members who will know how to thoroughly investigate your case and pursue the answers and compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can serve you.
Common Types of Surgical Errors
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) labels certain types of surgical errors as “never events.” In other words, these are mistakes that should never occur in a health care environment. A few common examples of these types of surgical errors are:
- Foreign objects left in patient – When a doctor and surgical staff begin a surgery, they should follow a “time out” procedure. In other words, they should carefully go through a checklist in which they identify all instruments and equipment which they will use to carry out the procedure. After the surgery is complete, the staff should go through a checklist to make sure that all of those items are accounted for. Unfortunately, when surgical teams fail to follow this protocol, they can leave items inside of a patient such as sponges. The patient, in turn, can experience unbearable pain, infections and other complications. A follow-up surgery often is necessary.
- Performance of the wrong surgical procedure – Imagine going in to a facility to get an appendix removed only to wake from surgery be told that your gallbladder removal was a success. Thousands of Americans suffer through this type of unimaginable experience each year. Miscommunication often serves as the cause for this type of surgical error.
- Wrong site surgery – In addition to performing the wrong procedure, some negligent health care providers perform the right surgery but on the wrong part of the body. This is usually seen in cases involving surgeries to hands, arms, feet or legs. The orders may say “left foot,” but somewhere along the way, someone identifies the right foot instead.
- Anesthesia errors – You will likely need some form of anesthesia to undergo surgery. An anesthesiologist must be careful not to overdose or under-medicate a patient. Likewise, missing allergies or using contraindicated medications can have lethal effects on patients who are undergoing surgery.
- Infections – Some surgeries go fine. Still, the post-surgical care is improper, leading to complicated infections and expensive follow-up medical care.
- Accidental punctures or cuts during surgery – For a variety of reasons, a surgeon may make a mistake with a surgical instrument during a surgery. The error may lead to life-threatening complications.
- Failure to monitor patient after surgery – Patients can develop blood clots, internal hemorrhaging and other complications in the aftermath of a surgery if medical care providers fail to properly monitor their condition.
Why Errors in Surgery Happen
Surgical errors can occur for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons which our medical malpractice attorneys at Lichtenstein Law Group PLC have observed through the years include:
- Miscommunication – A patient can suffer harm if doctors and nurses fail to communicate effectively with each other before surgery about matters such as the patient’s medical history, diet, current medications and changes in status.
- Lack of proper training and supervision – A great deal of medical care is provided today by nurses, physician’s assistants and newer doctors who should be supervised by more experienced physicians. If they fail to provide proper training and supervision, it can lead to mistakes that result in surgical errors.
- Failure to follow proper protocol – Many surgical errors occur because surgical teams either lack protocol, or they fail to follow established protocol. For instance, they may fail to follow the proper procedure for accounting for the instruments which they use during a surgery.
- Doctor fatigue – Due to understaffing, doctors and nurses can work long shifts that leave them overworked, fatigued and highly prone to making critical errors during a surgical procedure.
- Improper equipment – Sadly, many hospitals in Virginia lack the proper equipment to carry out certain types of surgeries.
At Lichtenstein Law Group PLC, our lawyers work with highly credible, recognized medical experts to analyze the facts, including those contained in medical records. We will know how to assess whether a health care provider breached the recognized standard of care when performing a surgery on you or a loved one, and we will know how to hold that health care provider accountable.
What To Do After A Surgical Error
If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by a surgical error, you follow these three steps:
- Get appropriate medical care – You need to make sure that you get the medical treatment you need to address the health problems caused by the surgical error. The sooner you see another physician, the sooner the problem can be identified and treated.
- Don’t talk about it – You should not give written or recorded statements to hospital risk managers, board of review officials or staff members. If the hospital offers to “waive” medical bills in exchange for you signing something, simply accept the paperwork and say you need time to think. Signing things or making statements could have a devastating impact on your ability to secure just compensation.
- Call an attorney – The dedicated team at Lichtenstein Law Group PLC can carefully advise you about your legal options. If needed, we can also help you to find competent and skilled medical care to address the harm which you have suffered due to a surgical error.
Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Are Here to Help You
Our team of skilled medical malpractice lawyers are master litigators who know what it takes to pursue full and fair compensation for the victims of surgical errors. We are ready to conduct a free and confidential review of your case today through our offices in Roanoke or Charlottesville. Contact us today to get started with your case.